A 12.44-megawatt Rhode Island community solar farm developed by Nautilus Solar Energy is expected to go operational by the end of 2020. The New Jersey-based solar energy company leased 70 acres of land off Pound Hill Road in North Smithfield, RI for the new project. Construction on the installation started in fall 2019 and was overseen by DEPCOM Power.
More than 100 local contractors have been working on the Rhode Island community solar farm. According to a press release from Nautilus Solar, the development is expected to be mostly completed by November. Shortly after being built, the installation will be connected to the local grid before the year’s end.
Nautilus Solar explained that the installation would have the environmental equivalent of over 10,000 trees. It will also reduce carbon emissions equal to removing 1,500 cars from the road each year.
State and local officials oversaw groundbreaking of the North Smithfield. It is the largest community solar program in Rhode Island and will be part of a statewide program for consumers. Typical solar projects in Rhode Island connect directly to National Grid, but the Pound Hill Road facility is intended to serve the community and allow homeowners to take advantage of solar energy.
According to Nautilus Solar’s plans, the facility’s energy will be filtered directly to homeowners that subscribe to the program. This will reduce electricity bills and be accompanied by monthly credits proportionate to the energy the household generates. Community solar programs replace rooftop solar panels, which are expensive and require frequent maintenance at the homeowner’s cost.
Governor Gina Raimondo supports the Rhode Island community solar facility, stating that such programs benefit the environment and the local economy. According to Raimondo’s statement, more than 3,000 homes will be able to subscribe to the installation.
Nautilus Solar Energy has more information regarding subscriptions and the facility on its website.